David Salman’s Santa Fe Garden takes about 12 inches of precipitation. Such a high desert area is currently experiencing its dry decade in modern history, yet David’s garden has never been as good as it is now. His secret benefited all the gardener: saving water, planting native plants. He left the roof runoff without water to evaporate into the air. It made him develop a bigger garden without spending more watering. He also dig deep to find the right factory. High national garden nursery as the main gardener, he nurtured and developed colorful, texture grown in barren soil and arid beauty. “Just because a garden is not pouring a lot does not mean it needs,” he said.
1. Direct the Water
David uses a dry stream bed (a path of small and medium smooth stones) to direct rainfall where it is most needed.
2. Plant for Color
David plans for color throughout the season and uses only a few annuals. He mixes woody plants, perennials, culinary herbs, grasses, and cacti for texture. Groundcovers between flagstone pavers cover the clay soil and add to the lush feel.
3. Bring in Rocks
David uses rocks of all sizes throughout the garden to add height, build berms, and define spaces. Without them, his yard would be flat. “I love them for the topography they create. They are my own mini mountains,” he says.
4. Attract Nature
Nectar-rich flowers welcome birds and bees. Among the plants David picks to make his yard more appetizing for pollinators are prickly cacti like claret cup, which puts out a dozen or more scarlet saucer-like blooms the hummingbirds love. “They need an oasis to maintain their population,” he says. His garden has certainly become one: David watches about 24 hummingbirds feed and fight.
5. Shop Small
Visit local nurseries to find lesser-known plants for your garden. “Mass retailers sell a limited plant palette,” David says. “To find unique plants, shop nursery catalogs, websites, and growers in your Zone.”
6. Be a Plant Pioneer
David’s masterful mix of native plants is punctuated with a few global growers that have similar needs and tolerances. South African cold-hardy Ruschia, for example, is one he added to his front garden and nursery offerings.
7. Think About Shape
Sculptural plants, such as the tree yucca, add height, shape, and texture to the garden even in snowy winter months.
8. Let It Bee
Bold desert purple sage attracts native bees and honeybees. “I love to share the bounty of my yard with pollinators. But rabbits and deer are on their own,” he says.